Two common questions we hear in our office from parents are, "Can kids wear contact lenses?" and "How old does my child need to be to wear contacts?"
You may be surprised to discover that contact lenses are often prescribed to correct vision problems in very young children–even infants. However, while physically there may not be a minimum or recommended minimum age for wearing contact lenses, it's important to ask whether contacts are appropriate for your child.
The following questions and tips can help you evaluate whether your child is a candidate for contact lenses.
Can your child handle this responsibility?
Does she learn and follow instructions well? Does he do his chores without frequent reminders? Does she forget her homework at home?
Wearing contacts is an important responsibility. Although complications seldom occur (affecting only 5% of wearers annually), most problems happen because contacts are not worn or cared for properly.
Consider whether your child can learn how to properly insert and remove contacts, keep them clean, and follow a regular lens–wearing schedule. Can she do it even when she is tired or would rather play?
Does your child need corrective contact lenses?
Perhaps we recommended contacts to correct a vision problem during your child's last exam. Or maybe your child plays sports and wants contacts for better vision and performance.
On the other hand, if your child wants contacts for purely cosmetic reasons, then consider talking to her about what's driving the decision. An underlying issue or peer pressure might be the motivating factor.
Deciding when to wear contact lenses
Your child may have both cosmetic and practical reasons for wearing contact lenses.
If your child doesn't need contacts for vision correction, but thinks they'll look cool or wants to try a different eye color, rest assured, there are safe options. Natural–looking colored contacts and even novelty Halloween contact lenses are now available. In fact, they can be ordered online–but beware. Contact lenses purchased online may not be FDA approved. And it's very important that contact lenses be properly fitted to your child.
Don't hesitate to ask us about any lenses you find online, if your child is interested in novelty contacts, or any other questions you may have about contact lenses for your child. We're here to help!
Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.
Adapted with permission from: Kids Contacts: The "Right" Age to Wear Contact Lenses CooperVision.com.
VISION & HEALTH NEWSLETTER COURTESY OF:
Eli Ben Moshe, O.D.
4822 NEWPORT AVE
SAN DIEGO, CA 92107